We are super excited to be joined by creator of Bo&Bel Vicki on #gossipstation who we recently met at Dot to Dot London. We were instantly drawn over to the brand for its gorgeous colorful pieces! As some of you well know, we absolutely love items which are bold and beautiful and for us, Bo&Bel is both of those. So, it is with great pleasure that we can welcome Vicki on the show so that we can find out a little bit more about herself and her fab-u-lous brand.
Vicki, thank you so much for joining us, can you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your company?
Hello everyone! I'm Vicki Hodges, a proud mother to twins Phoebe and Isobel and wife to Sam. I’m a northerner who’s taken up home in Blackheath, London.
I set up my own business Bo&Bel and launched online in October 2014. The range is now available in retailers throughout the UK.
That’s so exciting – congratulations! What was it that inspired you to launch Bo&Bel?
When I had twins, I realised babies grab everything! Not only do they grab everything, they put everything in their mouths. So when I’d had little hands pull and break my necklaces I gave up on wearing jewellery and felt I’d lost my sense of style.
Most new mums I spoke to felt the same as me so I was passionate that I could provide the perfect solution. I started to design our silicone teething necklaces to enable mums to wear jewellery again that is safe, stylish and practical. And so Bo&Bel was born.
We don’t yet have kids but we seriously love the idea as we love to wear accessories and like you, we would feel ‘naked’ without them! Is there a story behind the name ‘Bo&Bel’?
The name of my business came from my twins Phoebe (Bo) and Isobel (Bel). They are the experiences I had to why I created the products and also the reason I want to show my daughters women can be successful in setting up and running their own business if they have the passion. I want to be an inspirational role model from them so the name is a tribute to them.
Woah go girl we LOVE this! What an inspiration you are to your girls as well as to others! You have no idea how refreshing it is to hear that. What sets your products apart from others that are currently available in the market?
Our necklaces stand out from the crowd because we design them to be an accessory that is as much about baby teething as it is about the mum feeling stylish.
It’s important for mum to feel special and after having children you tend not to think about looking after yourself or treating yourself so I wanted my jewellery to be safe, stylish but also something that felt to a mum that she was treating herself as much as buying a teether for her baby.
That is the perfect combination! As you know, we love the designs and colors that you use in your jewelry - how is it that you come up with each piece and the names for them?
The designs came about when thinking how I would shop for fashion jewellery back before I had children. It would be colourful, fun designs that worked with many outfits. I take this concept to my teething jewellery.
Not everyone likes the wear the same shape or colours, so I make 5 different designs - some bright, some more neutral which allows the consumer to have a varied selection when choosing.
I started to name all of our jewellery after the twins friends so they had meaning. We’ve grown so much since that so we now add on my friends names too!
That’s so funny, someone we know has taken on the same concept and we love the idea as it makes each piece so special to you as the designer. We're interested in your ‘Grief Encounters’ initiative; can you talk us through this?
Not wanting to leave out the men, I launched the dads range of teething accessories which included 5 different designs of silicone teething necklaces early this year. I wanted to raise awareness that we are all about girl power but the hands on, modern dads have a big role in raising their families.
As part of this launch I am working in partnership with Grief Encounter, a charity close to my heart as I lost my father when I was young.
Bo&Bel donate 50% profits for the sale of every dads teething necklaces to Grief Encounters. Dads Jeff Brazier and Ben Brooks-Dutton are ambassadors for this wonderful charity that supports children who have been affected by childhood bereavement.
We are so sorry to hear about your father – that is such a lovely thing to do! Are there any exciting new plans in the works for Bo&Bel?
I feel like I’ve come such a long way in 18 months however this is just the start. Dot To Dot London was my first trade show and it was an amazing to experience. I got to meet so many great brands and people who I learn off in how to shape my business.
I have had such wonderful feedback from customers on what I do so I’m not looking to expand my range again soon but we am working with a lot more retailers on getting Bo&Bel in more stockists across the UK.
There’ll be a big launch later in the year when we do a mUm campaign showcasing other brands who work on the same ethos as Bo&Bel. That there is a YOU in mUm. We want to celebrate motherhood by celebrating the mother as well as them as a woman. We’re all about empowering women to be and feel the best they can. Watch this space for more details!
That sounds like a fabulous campaign and one which we definitely want to be kept in the loop about as there is nothing better other than supporting and empowering those around you.
Vicki, it has been such a pleasure! We have loved having you on #gossipstation and learning about your incredible journey. All we can say is that, you are making a mark which your girls will be undeniably inspired by as we can tell you that we for sure are.